PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Valley drivers are no stranger to seeing work zones on their daily commutes, but unsafe driving can lead to some bad outcomes. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were more than 1,000 traffic accidents in work zones across the Rio Grande Valley.

Ray Pedraza, Public Information Officer for TxDOT tells ValleyCentral that the most common cause of crashes is unsafe lane changes. But the most dangerous problem in work zones is speeding and distracted driving.

“The most common crashes that happen in work zones are rear-end collisions,” Pedraza said. ” “First of all slow down and obey posted speed limit signs. Pay attention, avoid distractions put away the phone, that phone call or text message can wait.”  

One of the biggest work zone areas in the valley is the ongoing construction of the I-2 and I-69C Interchange in Pharr. But there are also 50 other road projects in the works across South Texas.

“In addition to those 50 active construction projects we have another 10-15 work zone where we have our crews, our maintenance, our traffic and our safety crews each out there,” Pedraza said. “They are either working on pavement repair, traffic signal repair, or working on safety enhancements.

So far the Pharr Interchange Project is 40% complete and is expected to be finished by December 2023. In the meantime, TxDOT is also encouraging drivers to save time and avoid the area altogether.

“We have a lot of people that are utilizing other East and West corridors to avoid this interchange,” Pedraza said. “Just have patience once it is all done it is going to be a lot nicer and it is going to be able to accommodate a much larger volume of traffic in a much more efficient way.”

According to TxDOT, traffic fines in work zones double and could cost up to $2,000.

Drivers can stay up to date on the progress of all road projects in the valley. Head to DriveTexas.org.